Information is POWER

by Dennis Beck on February 5, 2015

Idaho Falls Power uses SBS Utility DataHub™ – Analysis Interface to power their load flow analysis tools

Idaho Falls Power has many of the typical challenges faced by municipal utilities across the United States. They strive to provide the best, most reliable electric power at an affordable price to their customers. A primary opportunity to reduce costs is to improve how the utility can leverage information across different organizations. Idaho Falls Power is accomplishing this by developing an integrated model of their electric network. The integrated model allows them to provide the community with better engineering to improve planning, reliability and optimal expenditure of resources.

Idaho FallsFor years it has been difficult for Idaho Falls Power to generate a comprehensive model of their electric network. The effort necessary to gather all the detailed network information to create the model was estimated to require 2 man years of cost. It would also redirect busy utility personnel from the mission critical job they have to keep the utility running. Recently, Idaho Falls Power chose Spatial Business Systems (SBS) and their Utility DataHub™ software solutions to address this problem.

The Utility DataHub™ Analysis Interface serves to integrate the DistriView load flow analysis software, from ASPEN, Inc. with the Idaho Falls geographic information system (GIS) database from Esri, which is managed by the City staff. The GIS database has long played a role in generating important mapping information that has been used to support utility operations. But until now, it has not been tightly integrated with the engineering applications that play an important role in supporting the planning of the electrical system.

The benefits of generating an electric network model from the Utility DataHub™ are significant.

Idaho Falls Power_QuoteFirst, the costs of manually generating an electric network are greatly reduced. The process of gathering electric data from the existing network would normally take an intensive field data collection effort. This process requires man-years of effort to capture the necessary details about the Idaho Falls electric system at a significant cost. The use of the Utility DataHub™ allowed Idaho Falls Power staff to extract the data from the Esri GIS and build a valid network model ready for DistriView to use without costly data collection efforts.

Next, the automated generation of the utility network model from the GIS also reduces the amount of time necessary to assemble the information. Time is critical in utilities, particularly in Idaho Falls where numerous system enhancements are underway. Planned growth is on the horizon due to improved performance of the economy and upcoming community developments that will contribute to the current load place on the existing electrical system. Using a manual approach to building the electric model would have caused Idaho Falls Power to fall short of important deadlines necessary to support the system planning process.

Finally, and perhaps most important, there is now a system in place to streamline how work is done at the utility. It allows the existing investment in GIS data collection to be leveraged to support the automated delivery of an electric distribution model. Better information supports better decisions and Idaho Falls Power is able to do more with less investment, fulfilling the axiom that knowledge truly is power.

About Spatial Business Systems
Founded in 2002, SBS provides software and service solutions that help their clients leverage the power of location-based data from CAD, GIS and other information systems. The company has helped over 100 utility, telecommunications and government entities streamline their business processes and reduce costs through their innovative offerings. With offices in Denver, Colorado and Melbourne, Australia, SBS provides expert-level consulting skills and extensive experience in working with the unique aspects of geospatial information. Visit www.spatialbiz.com for more information.

About Idaho Falls Power
Idaho Falls Power is a municipal electric utility serving the corporate city limits of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The City has operated the utility continuously since its establishment in 1900 and serves approximately 22,400 residential and 3,695 commercial customers. The service area encompasses approximately 23 square miles and is served by nearly 450 miles of transmission and distribution lines. The division employs 67 people serving the citizens of Idaho Falls.

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Dennis F. Beck is President and CEO of Spatial Business Systems, Inc, responsible for overall company operations, corporate business development activities and executive consulting in the advanced use of geospatial technologies. Prior to forming Spatial Business Systems Mr. Beck was the Vice President of Global Business Development for GE Network Solutions. In this role Mr. Beck was responsible for managing acquisition activity and expanding the use of GE Smallworld technologies to government and transportation markets. Mr. Beck also oversaw the technical delivery of geospatial technologies to customers in the utility and telecommunications market segments. Prior to that, he was the GIS Program Manager at IBM Corporation, responsible for GIS product management activities for IBM's utility-based geospatial applications. Mr. Beck has also served as an Adjunct GIS professor at Marist College in New York State, USA. Mr. Beck is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineering and has served as the Chairman of the Oracle Spatial North American Special Interest Group. Mr. Beck has a BS in Engineering from Purdue University and a Master's Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.

Dennis BeckInformation is POWER

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